THE BENEFITS OF CORN. George, a farmer in Agusan del Sur, lets his newly harvest corn grits dry under the sun. An alternative to rice, he grinds most of it after drying for his family’s consumption, while the rest he sells in the town center. Farmers like him depend on corn for livelihood amidst their depressing situation. ( photo by Ace R. Morandante)

A farmer in Agusan del Sur province dries newly harvested corn grits under the sun. ( file photo by Ace R. Morandante)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines A local farmers group will mark the World Food Day celebration on Oct.16 with a call for climate justice.

In a news conference Thursday, Oct. 13, Masipag Regional Coordinator for Mindanao, Leo “XL” Fuentes said that in celebration of WFD, Masipag will stage a rally to denounce the continued production of crops that are genetically modified and the use of pesticides.

Masipag, farmer-led network of people’s organizations and scientists, will hold a mobilization dubbed, the People’s Tribunal Against Monsanto, this Friday, Oct.  14 at 3 p.m in Rizal Park, this city.

Expected to join are other cause-oriented group such as  Mamayang Ayaw sa Aerial Spray (MAAS), Interface for Development (IDIS), Panalipdan Southern Mindanao, RECAP Foundation, Francis Morales Resource Center (FSMRC), METSA Foundation, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and other farmer and environmental organizations.

Fuentes slammed Mosanto, a multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri known for its GMO crops.

According to Masipag, Monsanto is responsible in polluting the environment, destroying farm lands and consequently damaging food security.

Fuentes also revealed that more than 20,000 hectares of land are planted with GMO crops in various plantations.

“Can you imagine the food that we are going to eat will be sprayed with almost the same bio-weapon used during the Vietnam war? The 2, 4, 5,-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid that is present in Monsanto’s pesticide is similar to Agent Orange 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid,” Fuentes said.

Citing a United Nations report, around 750 million people are hungry each day which means that  “roughly one out of nine people is experiencing extreme starvation.”

In the Philippines, Fuentes said,  around 56 percent of teenager based from a 2005 survey are sleeping while they are hungry.

“We cannot simply celebrate World Food Day when majority of the people in the world suffered mass poverty and hunger while our communities are made vulnerable to climate disasters by  reckless and greedy chemical companies,” he said.(

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